By: Canadian Joint Operations Command Public Affairs

Every year, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) divers and their counterparts from other nations take a trip to the past.

Far below the surface of the Baltic Sea lay remnants of the region’s military history: unexploded ordnance from the First and Second World Wars. The Baltic Sea saw heavy fighting during these periods, including air bombardment, naval gunfire support, mine-laying, and submarine warfare. As a result, explosive remnants remain as a safety hazard in the area.

Operation OPEN SPIRIT aims to rid the Baltic Sea of this danger.

This operation is a great opportunity for the CAF diving team, as it gives them the chance to practice disposing of explosives in a live environment. “We don’t have anything like this in Canada,” says Lieutenant-Commander William Barter, Commander of Task Force Lithuania. “We train for this back home, but here we are able to work in a real environment, and that experience is invaluable.”

The operation takes some preparation so the CAF diving team can hit the ground running when they arrive. “We do pre-training for the operation before we leave,” says Lieutenant-Commander Barter. “We conduct dives in Canada to work up to the deepest depth needed for the operation. We also review our procedures on disposing mines.”

Once on location, the Canadians set up their camp alongside the teams of other nations that are assigned to dive along the shore. Other nations have diving teams on ships further…

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